ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A festival held Friday in Atlantic Beach focused on African culture.
The African Gullah Geechee Fest featured food, live music and items such as seagrass baskets.
Sherry Suttles, the founding president of the Gullah Geechee group, said the town typically only gets attention during the annual Bike Week held during the Memorial Day Weekend.
Suttles lived in Atlantic Beach before moving to a different state. She has since returned to the area to host the event and bring back a Black-owned and operated beach community. Her passion is to keep African culture alive globally, and Atlantic Beach is part of her first step.
“We want people to come enjoy the water,” Suttles said. “Go to the beach and dance and all that, but think about the history of our culture in this world. “
Atlantic Beach was a popular town that attracted African American tourists from across the country during segregation from 1934 through 1970s. However, once Myrtle Beach became desegregated Atlantic Beach began to decline.
Atlantic Beach began hosting its First Friday Gullah Geechee events in July. They will continue on the first Friday of every month with the next event for for Sept. 2.